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So how have your hormones reacted to dieting?

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Old 05-31-2011, 01:11 PM   #1
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Default So how have your hormones reacted to dieting?

I'm dieting partly to improve my hormones, as when I suddenly and randomly put on a lot of weight a few years ago, I also developed PMDD (the nasty version of PMS). I've had a few doctors tell me that they're most likely related, oestrogen being stored in fat and so forth.

The weight loss is generally going well, and I'm generally feeling healthier, but my hormones are throwing a hissyfit! Much more spotting than usual, crazy levels of PMDD, shorter than usual luteal phase last cycle, and this is the first cycle since I started FAM charting a few years ago that I haven't ovulated at all (as far as I can tell - my temps just gradually rose with no actual thermal shift). Menstrual migraines: too early to tell this cycle, they'll be due over the next day or so, but last cycle wasn't bad in that respect.

I gather than spotting is common with dieters, and that fat cells on their way out can be releasing oestrogen which makes things flare up temporarily. If I have to go through six months more of hellish PMDD for it to improve long-term I will, but ouch. It'd be quite nice to know what's ahead so that I can prepare with meds and such.

What has everyone else experienced?

(If you're blinking confusedly at the above terms, FAM = Fertility Awareness Method, and the rest doesn't really make sense unless you have a basic understanding of how FAM works. It's interesting reading, though.)
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Old 06-02-2011, 05:51 AM   #2
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Quick question: how much is it usual for weight to increase temporarily during periods? Because this is my first one with the scales, and the line has stopped moving down and moved up for the last few days!
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:02 AM   #3
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when I'm on my period, i can gain three to five pounds... then loose it in literally days. Most of it is water... most of what we bleed is water

gaining weight is a natural defense mechanism. Your body is saying "oh noooo we're loosing water....ahhhhh" and holds on to every drop it can....

plus often people crave salty foods during their period, and this also causes wsater retention. Look up homeostasis
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:16 AM   #4
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3-5 lbs when waiting for TOM. When the weight whooshes off, I know that's the signal TOM is about to happen.

I can't give you more experience than that since I'm just now off BCP and starting to chart again. So far, it's what I expected... still waiting for TOM! (I've always been irregular -- PCOS.)

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Old 06-02-2011, 10:44 AM   #5
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Yay, someone else who charts! Nifty, isn't it.

Yep, I googled a bit and it seems that a good few pounds are normal. I don't even want to know what it was like before I started the diet, considering that I used to get serious breast swelling back then (going up a cup size or more and whingeing a lot, basically) and haven't really had the breast swelling since I started the diet (yes, two whole cycles! definitely a trend!). I would probably have leapt off the scales in terror and gone into instant denial. By the way, does anyone else have the following discussion with their beloved when they're premenstrual:

Him [responding enthusiastically to increased mammaries]: Ooh, fantastic! Don't you look hot...
Me [slapping his hands away]: Bugger off, they hurt like **** and incidentally I am THE GROUCH MONSTER right now.

?

My weight seems to have moved up once the period started rather than before, but eh, hormones are strange things, I imagine it varies from woman to woman. When I was a teenager my migraines were always just before my period, these days they occur a couple of days into my period, and no doubt it's all due to various hormonal shifts. Currently on CD3, so let's see what happens.

I do get occasional salt cravings, but I've never noticed a hormonal pattern. Chocolate cravings, well obviously, but it's a migraine trigger for me so when I crave it is usually when I'm not allowed it. So far I seem to have got away with the tiny amount of chocolate I had at lunchtime despite today being prime migraine risk day (this is why I do the FAM charting, when I get a big temperature drop I know the migraine is likely due and can be careful), but then these days I'm only eating 3-5g of chocolate at a time so maybe that's small enough to get away with.

On the other hand, the last few days I haven't been as good about keeping up with the super hydration, so that probably isn't helping. Herbal tea time! And refill that water bottle!

My friend's husband is called Tom. I should tell him that's what a lot of women call their periods and watch his face! And now I have images of ringing up and saying, "Hi hon, how are you doing, and how's Tom?" Especially since we had one of those female-bonding talks yesterday afternoon...

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Old 06-02-2011, 11:11 AM   #6
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I had it this morning -- lol. I don't know why he can't understand "I am PMS-y -- keep away from the boobs!"

For me it's choc at ovulation and then steak at menses. It's all about the iron, I know. It doesn't much matter the craving.

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Old 06-14-2011, 06:50 AM   #7
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For me...I gain 6 lbs ATLEAST before my period, every time, but I have a septum in my uterus (so more tissue?). Sorry if that's TMI but it's how to explain why I gain that much.

As for spotting/lateness/etc during weight loss. I don't spot but every month my period seems to happen later and later. I think I only actually missed it once but most months (while dieting) my cycle just hits about 40 days before it happens.
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Old 06-14-2011, 11:05 AM   #8
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The septum thing doesn't sound fun.

I'm a bit confused by what you mean about months vs cycles. Are you saying that your cycle is getting longer and longer each time, or were you originally getting a 30-31 day cycle so that it used to turn up on approximately the same day each month, and now it's, say, a 34 day cycle, so it's no longer doing that?
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:53 PM   #9
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when i eat low carb, my TOM tends to be practically non-existent....i get the bloating, light moodiness, some cravings but not too bad, but NO blood/spotting/anything...happens every time...i began low carbing back in march and will need to continue this way of eating as long as possible because of pre-diabetes, perhaps eating this way forever, which is fine with me...and i havent had a single period since march....i get the bloating etc every month but no actual blood...i've taken pregnancy tests and i'm not pregnant...i'm on BCP which is how i know that, once a month, i should have TOM...i read somewhere that weight loss releases estrogen into your system, which prevents most of TOM, and i've also read that a drastic change to your diet will prevent TOM and, before LC, i was eating ALOT(!) of carbs regularly
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Old 06-22-2011, 05:42 AM   #10
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Sorry for the misunderstanding. I typically (while maintaining) have a very normal cycle, runs about 28-30 days. During weight loss however, I can expect for my cycle to go as far as 40 days before my period comes along.
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:22 AM   #11
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Lylitu - Right, with you. Do you notice increased PMS or any other symptoms, out of curiosity? Longer cycles are more likely to lead to that, as the follicular phase is now a great deal longer than the luteal phase which means that the hormone balance has shifted.

Alaskanlaughter - I've read that about oestrogen being released while dieting too, apparently it's the fat cells having a last hurrah on their way out. But extra oestrogen doesn't reduce PMS, it actually increases it, and I'm not aware that it decreases menstrual bleeding either.

Interesting that you're amenorrhoeic while dieting. Are you on a large calorie deficit? I know that amenorrhoea occurs when women are substantially underweight, and while I don't know exactly what's going on hormonally in that case, I presume there may be things in common with weight loss, even at higher weights. Although if you're on hormonal contraception, you're not actually seeing your natural hormones, you're seeing the interaction between them and the contraception, in which I presume it's all more complicated.

The carb thing - I think it may be related to blood sugar? In the seventies, the pioneering PMS specialist Dr Katharina Dalton created a PMS diet which is still in use today. It involves cutting out obvious junk, sugar and caffeine and alcohol and so forth, lots of water and fresh fruit and veg, and eating a complex carb, wholegrain too, every 2-3 hours in order to stabilise blood sugar. Apparently blood sugar and female sex hormones have strong effects on each other. The diet is still used today, although some people use wholegrain carbs and some people do better with protein for the snacks. I tried it once but found it too hard to keep up the two-hourly snacking. When you say that you went low carb, what sort of carbs were you eating before, and did you change your diet in any other way?
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:43 PM   #12
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when i begin exercising after not having an exercise plan...or when i'm very active after being inactive...my TOM will stop...example: i spent a year very inactive due to back problems...once i could move around better, we promptly bought our first home and it so happened that i went from a year of very low activity to high activity like packing, sorting, hauling boxes, while working fulltime, plus the stress of finances/closing on the house etc....sure enough, no TOM....

the month that i started exercising to some of the hard Biggest Loser video workouts...no TOM...

last year i tried weight watchers for a month....had much lower calories, always hungry, etc...no TOM

i've discovered that i don't lose weight with exercise, no matter how hard it is, and that i can't sustain a diet while feeling hungry all the time...so i've chosen low carb (going back to it) because i need to for my blood sugar and because i can live like this

so i know it's connected...right now i've been doing since march, eating carbs found in veggies and some fruit and cutting out as much as possible the sugars and starches and flour that affect my blood sugar levels...i'm not running much, if any, of a calorie deficit because i'm including things like meat, cheese, cream...not overindulging but also not counting calories, just carbs, and successfully losing weight...i know my weight problems stem entirely from sugar addictions as well as some blood sugar issues....that is the only thing i've changed in my diet but it's been a BIG change...because before i was eating ungodly amounts of starches and sugars, liking to bake, and loving pasta, bread, rice, and baked goodies
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:51 PM   #13
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I did a very low carb/keto diet over a year and a half ago. I too stopped menstruating and at first lost weight. Then I started gaining weight for an unknown reason. I came off the low carb diet and couldn't stop gaining weight. At least 25-30 pounds. And my hormones were so out of whack. My breast were so swollen and sore then the worst pms and my period ever since then is around a 40 day cycle.

I took a year off from any type of dieting. I just ate and my weight (after the drastic quick gain) roughly has stayed around the 157-160 range.
I just started back with weight watchers since that program really works for me. I have since lost 6.8 pounds in 3 weeks.

My point is that I truly believe I messed my hormones up with the type of dieting I experimented with and I'm still paying the price. I still get very sore swollen breasts and heavy periods and terrible cramps. Its interesting ready about how estrogen is stored in our fat cells and that effects us as we lose.

I too am dieting to help with regulating my hormones. I try to eat real whole foods. No processed foods and no sweeteners
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:07 PM   #14
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interesting how that messed up your hormones...were you on birth control pills at the time? i've always taken BCP for at least 8 years straight now, with a break for one pregnancy...like someone said earlier, it's more of an interaction between my diet and my BCP, which i also think is interesting

unfortunately, with being pre-diabetic, i don't have the choice to really see my way of eating as "diet" or "short term plan"....if i dont eat low carb, i will see high blood sugar levels doing damage to my body and develop diabetes down the road...weight loss is a plus for me, while also being recommended as one way to bring my blood sugar levels in line...
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:45 PM   #15
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No I wasn't on bcp. And don't get me wrong I'm not putting down a low carb diet. I know it can work and does work for lots of people. Unfortunately for me it's not right. I really liked eating that way and I could do it as a lifestyle change. But my body likes moderate carbs.

I totally understand eating low carb for pre diabetes and a lifestyle. I wish you the best of health and yes the weight loss is a nice positive side effect!
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